Gov. Abbott addresses recent spike in antisemitic acts in Austin during Hanukkah lighting ceremony at Capitol


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the recent spike in antisemitic acts in Austin and participated in lighting the ninth candle as part of a Hanukkah celebration Sunday afternoon. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Sunday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will light the ninth candle as part of a Hanukkah celebration.

In the Jewish faith, Hanukkah is an eight-day “festival of lights” is held each year commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 160s BC, CNN explains. The rededication symbolized Jews of the area being able to worship again after Judaism was outlawed by King Antiochus IV.

Contrary to popular belief, Hanukkah is not the Jewish version of Christmas, though it does include certain elements like candy (chocolate gold coins) and games (four-sided spinning toys called dreidels).

Abbott will light the shamash, or “servant candle,” the ninth candle that’s used to light the other candles added the other days.

The event will be held at 4:15 p.m. on the south lawn of the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin. This year’s celebration began Nov. 28 and ends Monday evening. This year’s festivities come amid a recent local spike in antisemitic acts, including hate-speech banners draped over Austin freeways.

“So antisemitism is not something new to the Jewish community, it’s been going on for centuries,” Marvin Hecker, president of the Brotherhood Group at Congregation Beth Israel, told KXAN. “The celebration of Hanukkah is about overcoming antisemitism.”

The lighting will be livestreamed in this story, at, on the official KXAN News Facebook page, and in the KXAN News app.

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